The curtain has finally fallen on the UnAwards15. What have we learned? And what next?
By Darren Caveney
The UnAwards Winners Masterclasses saw us hot-foot it to three major cities to showcase the work of winning communicators and give public sector communicators the chance to see, learn and connect for free.
First off, here are some numbers on the Masterclasses...
- the three masterclasses attracted 170 public sector comms professionals
- The attendees paid £0 to be at the Masterclasses
- 12 winners shared the secrets behind their winning work
- The #UnAwardsWinners hashtag featured on over 1k tweets on the three event days
- The #UnAwardsWinners hashtag had the potential to reach 426k people on Twitter (source TweetBinder) Sorry, I do still love a stat.
It was a genuine privilege to be able to organise and host these masterclasses. And it was clear why each winner caught the eyes of our independent judges.
Laced throughout each presented case study were four vital ingredients – let’s call them the fantastic four of a successful communications campaign…
Strong and clear research
The difference between an average piece of work and a great piece of work very often lies in the quality of the research. If you don’t have research you’re taking a flyer.
A great communications strategy
There is still no substitute (even in the digital age)
A brilliant creative execution
One which cuts through the competing noise and mass of distractions.
A genuine return on investment
Internally strong ROI is needed to answer the ‘so what’ question. Externally, you need to know if your work has made a real difference to people.
And so to the five gems of learning I picked up from the three Masterclasses:
“Don’t try to spin your staff. They know where the bodies are buried”, Julie Waddicor, Staffordshire County Council.
“Re. Use. Your. Content. Tweet once and someone might see it. Tweet it 14 times and someone has 14 chances to see it.” Richard Wilson, London Fire Brigade.
“Don’t email huge enewsletters to your residents and customers. Use shorter emails with a single focus and call to action. Send emails on the subjects your residents and customers have expressed an interest in and not the things you want to share. Your open rates and your click rates will increase.” Dave Worsell, GovDelivery
“A creative environment, or a change of scene, will help you with your creative thinking. You have to give creativity a chance to come out – and it can take time. So a last minute work demand stands little chance of the comms team being able to deliver truly creative work.” Alan Oram, Alive With Ideas.
“Traditional media isn’t dead. But you can reach them and gain coverage with them through smart use of digital” Anna Caig, Sheffield City Council
Huge thanks to our Masterclass partner, the LGA and especially Matt Nicholls for his enthusiasm and support. To our sponsors GovDelivery and Dave Worsell, and Alan Oram and Caroline Roodhouse of Alive With Ideas. And a shout-out too to Christine Townsend and Musterpoint who supported the UnAwards Ceremony and helped make it fly last year.
Thanks too if you attended - I hope your learned some new tricks, made some new friends.
And lastly thanks to all our speakers for taking the time and sharing their learning. An extra special mention to Richard Wilson of London Fire Brigade who spoke at all three events, and to Sheffield City Council who also spoke at all three. We love you all.
So #UnAwards15 comes to an end. Now the planning begins for #UnAwards16. Here are the dates you need to engrave into your calendars…
UnAwards16 launch Sept
Ticket sales open Sept
Entries open Sept
Entries close Oct
Public vote opens Nov
Shortlist announced Nov
Public vote closes Nov
UnAwards16 event 1 December 2016
And we’ll see you in Birmingham on 1 December to celebrate more winning work from the best industry there is. You have plenty of time to create that winning work this year.
Darren Caveney is co-founder of comms2point0 and a creative communications specialist